Well that sure was a crazy ride, wasn't it? We all learned a lot from Midterm week, and I will be taking this experience into account next time! I just wanted to provide you all with a quick update on class performance during midterms:
Ancient Greece Exam: Average score of 2.7 (of 23 students who completed)
Scientific Method Quiz: Average score of 2.8 (of 22 students who completed)
Greek and Latin Roots Quiz: Average score of 2.7 (of 23 students who completed)Plate Tectonics Exam: Average score of 2.7 (of 24 students who completed)Greek Mythology Exam: Average score of 2.9 (of 20 students who completed)Geography and Cartography Quiz: Average score of 2.5 (of 23 students who completed)
We started writing our novels on Thursday! It was a visible relief to finally begin writing after so much hype. Students set their own word count goals ranging from 1000 to 30,000 words. During our 30 minutes of writing that day, our class wrote a combined 5317 words. This means that as a class we had reached nearly 4% of a cumulative goal of 150,000 words!
As of Monday, we have made huge leaps in our word count (and seen some increases in individual goals). The class has now written over 14,000 words in their novels! We are off to a great start! Students are welcome to work on these at home, but it is no way required homework.
Science Fair- Some clarifications and helpful information
Science Fair Across the Grades
The teachers at Cascade Heights are very excited about the science fair. We believe that the opportunity for students to embrace the scientific process and conduct meaningful research about topics important to them is incredibly important. All students at our school participate in the science fair. Kindergartners begin the process, working with Mrs. Ketel to wonder, test, and make observations about the test. In 4th grade, they conduct their first independent project. Ms. Cantin guides students through the process, simplifying the vocabulary and processes to make it accessible. As they progress through middle school, students are asked to create projects that are more meaningful, research deeper, use progressively more difficult vocabulary, and work more independently. Parents with children in multiple grades may see this first hand. A 6th grader will be asked to do basic research about their project, while 8th graders will be expected to use multiple sources, cite them correctly, and show meaningful notes. The timeline remains the same for all 4th – 8th graders! If you run into questions about the level of expectation for your child or children, please feel free to approach the teachers, we are more than happy to clarify what we are looking for at each grade. We thank you for your continued support.
I am so appreciative of all the support you are giving your child on their science fair project!
Our time for conducting background research in class is over. Here is what it looked like:
1. Students brainstormed a question they were wondering about.
2. Students conducted background research on their question. - If their question was easy to answer looking it up on the internet, then they needed to chose another question. It can be using a similar idea, but it will need to be a different question. I think I weeded out most of those when we did research in the lab.
3. Students developed their hypothesis in an "If_______, then_________, because_________." statement.
- Use at least 3 sources for information, giving each source its own page in their Science Fair notebook.
- List those three sources (website, book titles, etc.) in their composition Science Fair notebook, on the Background research page.
- Have at least 10 facts from each source. (They will later be asked to write a paragraph using these facts in their own words, so they may paraphrase facts).
ABOUT CONDUCTING RESEARCH
Once students have a testable question, it is important to do some background research. What do scientists think they already know about the topic? What are the processes involved and how do they work? Background research can be gathered first hand from primary sources such as interviews with a teacher, scientist at a local university, or other person with specialized knowledge. Students can also use secondary sources such as books, magazines, journals, newspapers, online documents, or literature from non-profit organizations. Don’t forget to make a record of any resource used so that credit can be given in a bibliography.
GATHERING BACKGROUND RESEARCH
- Helps students gain in depth knowledge about the topic and processes they will be observing during the investigation.
- Sparks ideas about different variables to test when setting up the investigation.
- Provides the basis for predicting what will happen in the investigation when making a hypothesis.
- Provides the understanding needed to interpret and explain the results to others –especially a science fair judge
Science fair research is conducted in class unless students are absent on the days allowed for this. 6th grade spent over 2 hours in the computer lab the last two weeks. This should be enough time to complete most of the needed research.
Please contact me with any questions about the science fair or other school and classroom events!